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Last updated: September 03, 2022
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Getting gardens ready for planting season often means lifting and breaking apart clumps of soil. Doing this by hand may be quite challenging, especially for large tracts of land. However, this is an exercise that can be made so much easier by purchasing a rear tine tiller hence why you should think about buying one.
Our team diligently reviewed 27 great products in the market. However, more than ¾ of them never made it to our shortlist. As such, you can be sure that the five mentioned below are some of the best rear tine tillers you can own. One product that stands out a little more than the others listed is the YARDMAX YT4565. It comes with self-sharpening tines, which are quite rare. Also, the seven depth adjustments provided for by the device are impressive as well. As to the other four products, you would do yourself a great disservice by not considering them. After all, the features and quality are all top-notch.
Our research involved carefully checking various manufacturer websites for a few key attributes in each device. These are the power source of the tools, tilling width, and tilling depth. Since these features give an accurate description of the performance of the tillers, they were among our first considerations. They were then followed by looking into the warranty, weight, and additional features provided by the manufacturers since they may as well add benefits to using the machine. Next came the compilation exercise where we ranked products in a table, as shown below. In your search for best rear tine tillers, you are likely to appreciate the in-depth product reviews and buying guide in the middle and last section of our write-up.
Other features: instant reverse, airless wheels, recoil start
The Earthquake 37037 Pioneer Dual-Direction Rear Tine Tiller is a well-regarded product that offers an easy to use sod-to-seed solution with a choice of two drive modes. This tiller is powered by a 99cc Viper single cylinder 4-cycle gas powered engine unit. The CRT mode is the ideal choice when you need to break apart harder sections of ground and tear into sod. This is also a great mode if you need to mix soils deeply without multiple passes. The second SRT mode is the smart choice when you need to till previously tilled soil or create a level and smooth bed for seeding.
The tiller unit is 16” wide and 10” deep which is a deeper tilling path than many competing machines at a similar price point. The Earthquake 37037 is easy to control and it can be placed into reverse instantly with a simple handle pull. The handle bar has dual grips that allow you to step to one side and operate with a single hand as needed. This is a handy feature because you don’t want to leave footprints on your freshly tilled seed bed. The airless wheels are wide, they don’t go flat and they really claw into the dirt to create plenty of traction. This is a great tilling machine for people with a more substantial budget.
What makes it special?
The Viper 4-cycle engine is powerful and dependable.
It’s easy to shift modes with the handle which is clearly marked on the locator plate.
The body is wide, low, and well balanced for superb stability.
The transmission feels perfectly balanced in every direction.
The operating controls feel smooth and the machine is easy to control.
What cons did we find?
This is a well-built tiller with a matching price tag that won’t suit every budget.
The Earthquake 37037 is steady, but it is a slow-moving machine.
Other features: aluminum die-cast housing, power reverse, self-sharpening tines
The Troy Bilt Mustang Rear-Tine Tiller is the ideal machine to tackle rugged soil and lighter tilling projects. This tiller is powered by a Powermore 208cc gas OHV engine that’s powerful enough to till down to a depth of up to 6.5” in a single pass. The dual direction tiller tines are 18” wide and they easily dig into softer or pre-tilled soils on a second pass. This machine can be used forwards or it can be placed into reverse for repeated passes over tougher ground. This tiller sits on 13” wheels with deep treads that are well suited to rough, uneven, and muddy conditions.
The entire Troy Bilt 450 series of tillers have an adjustable plow handle setup that allows you to stand straight as you till the ground. This prevents slouching that can cause backache and lower back problems. It’s easy to till straight lines across rough and smoother ground. This tiller has a debris guard that prevents vegetation and other upturned debris from hitting the user’s legs. The engine unit is protected from collisions by a durable bumper. Troy Bilt has demonstrated their confidence in this tiller with a 2-year limited warranty and the quality of support is excellent.
Why are we impressed?
The Powermore 208cc gas powered engine delivers plenty of power.
This tiller has tine rotation in both directions to work on soft or rougher ground.
The 13” wheels are sturdy and durable and they dig into the soil for extra traction.
The adjustable plow style handle is kinder on your back muscles.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Some users have found this tiller hard to use one handed.
This is an expensive tiller, but it delivers a lot of performance that some people will want.
The shift lever feels stiff, but it will loosen up a little with repeated use.
Other features: recoil start, EPA certified and CARB compliant; a cast iron, gear-driven transmission
The fact that this uses self-propelled wheels means that you only need to walk behind it and occasionally give it direction. Most users will find it a breeze to use as a result.
Also, the 212cc, 4-stroke engine is impressive with regard to power. This is complemented by a recoil start and a cast iron, gear-driven system. Both of these should be quite reliable when you need them.
As to the tilling width, this device has one of the more extensive options available. You will thus find that you have to make fewer runs in your garden to complete the exercise.
A bonus of purchasing this device is that it is one of very few that are both CARB compliant and EPA certified. You should thus be quite confident in your buying decision if you decide that the Champion 100380 is the way to go. The 2-year limited warranty is another benefit that you get with this device.
Why are we impressed?
Extended tilling width
8-inch tilling depth
CARB and EPA certified
What negatives must you be aware of?
Some users mentioned that tires tend to come off the rim
Other features: 10.2 ft-lbs gross torque, 90-day commercial warranty
The Generac Power Systems 250018 DR Power Rear Tine Roto-Tiller is a premium grade machine for tilling and/or cultivating well established gardens and tougher ground. This machine has dual line rotation to switch the tiller tine into a forward and counter-rotation direction. It’s easy to switch between these two positions and they are the ideal way to deal with different soil types. When the tiller is placed in the counter-rotation mode the machine can loosen compacted soil and bust sods of tougher soil. This is a self-propelled machine with 13” pneumatic wheels that dig into the soil for extra traction.
The engine is a powerful 212cc OHV gas powered unit which delivers 10.2 ft-lbs of torque. The tilling width is 16” and the unit can till down to a depth of 11” which is ideal for fast and simple soil preparation. If you need to place the machine into freewheeling mode this is possible if the retaining pin is removed. But, with a weight of 157 lbs, it takes considerable effort to maneuver this tiller without the self-propelled wheels engaged. A drag stake can be used which will increase the level of resistance when tough soils are tilled. Generac Power Systems has a two tier warranty with this product with 90-days for commercial and 2-years for residential use.
Why are we impressed?
The dual direction tines are an ideal way to break apart different soil types.
A front bumper guard protects the user's legs and critical components.
This tiller has a rear shield and side shields for extra protection from vegetation and debris.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This is an expensive machine, but it does have a comparable feature set when compared to other models in this class.
The tiller can be placed in a free wheel mode but this is a heavy machine.
Other features: self-sharpening and heat-treated tines, recoil start, adjustable loop handle
The Troy-Bilt Super-Bronco Rear Tine Tiller is a great machine for larger scale tiling projects. This tiller can break through rougher ground with impressive speed and power. Preparing areas for planting, seeding, compost piles and soil mixing to enhance the performance of plants is simple. This tiller is powered by a 208cc 4-cycle OHV gas engine that supplies plenty of power to turn, slice and chop soil to create a finely milled smooth surface. The tilling width is an impressive 16” with tines that till down to a depth of 10”. The tiller can be placed into powered reverse easily to make fast passes over tougher ground.
The adjustable handles are well positioned and all controls are placed within easy reach. The height can be adjusted quickly with no special tools which is convenient. The tiller is made of high-quality carbon steel for superior strength and durability. The machine has a cast-iron bronze gear transmission which protects and improves the durability of this critical component. The tines are made with heat-treated self-sharpening steel to improve the cutting action and durability characteristics. The counter-rotating tines are typically found on models with a much higher price tag. This tiller is backed with a 2-year limited warranty for extra peace of mind.
What stands out?
This machine is well built with high quality materials.
The powered reverse is simple to engage and it shifts smoothly.
This tiller represents fantastic value for money.
Tilling is fast and efficient.
Despite the considerable power, this tiller is small enough to fit between tilled rows.
What cons did we manage to find?
If the machine is pushed too hard, the handles can be prone to bending.
More weight over the front wheels would make this machine easier to move when it’s placed in CRT mode.
The tines cannot be disengaged when this tiller is moved.
Other features: 190 rpm, seven depth adjustments, self-sharpening tines, adjustable side shield and serrated rear shield, chain gear transmission, two speeds
It’s hard to come by this product and not put it on your wish list as a person passionate about gardening. There are quite a few positives that would make the purchase worth it.
One reason to buy the tool is the tines that are included. They feature a dual rotation feature, which is unique as well as impressive. Also, the fact that they are self-sharpening means you’ll have to do a lot less maintenance on the tool.
You can also not fail to mention the 6.5” maximum tilling depth. This is not the most impressive tilling depth as compared to other machines on offer. Nevertheless, the manufacturer does make up for that in some way by incorporating depth adjustments.
Consequently, users should have a field day choosing the depth on a particular patch of land, depending on what they want to plant there. Also, you find that the tool has an adjustable side shield as well as a serrated rear shield. These protect the user’s legs from anything that might be launched by the tines.
The engine as well is not the most powerful one in the market. Nevertheless, you cannot discount its ability to get the job done efficiently. Chain gear transmission further aids this.
Also, the user has a choice of two speeds. You can select a higher speed for more torque. Of course, this is the go-to option when the soil is harder than usual.
Buyers as well get a warranty with their purchase. For the residential user, you get two-years coverage. On the other hand, the commercial user gets much less impressive coverage at only 90 days.
With all the above positives, this product should be among the best dual rotating rear tine tillers in the market.
Other features: seven speeds, full-sided tine shields, recoil starter, cast iron transmission with bronze gear-drive
A customizable tool that you may as well want to get is the Troy-Bilt Horse tine tiller. This is because it accepts a wide range of optional attachments that you can then use for a variety of purposes. However, it still performs optimally in its primary functions.
Of course, you have the engine to thank for that. At 306 cc, you should have plenty of power to take on your garden any day of the week. It additionally features a recoil starter requiring you to give it a little tug so the machine can start.
Another impressive aspect of the machine is the bronze gear drive. What this does is offer you a bit more control over the device in your hands.
If you look at the wheels in comparison to other devices on this list, you notice they are quite large. As such, rough terrain should be like a walk in the pack.
The tines are as well another critical area to look into. They are only 12,” which may seem a bit underwhelming. However, the mechanisms that support the variable tilling depth make up for that deficiency. As a result, the tool is capable of even reaching a depth of 7”.
Speed is something else you need to get excited about. If the project at hand requires slow speeds, you can choose that setting. On the other hand, if the soil is hard and requires faster tilling, you can select that as well. Reverse speeds are as well incorporated into the setup.
Also, shields are incorporated on the device. This is to make sure you are protected from anything that could be launched from the ground by the machine. As such it is hard to find a better Troy-Bilt rear tine tiller than this one.
Other features: 1 forward speed, standard electric start, protective front bumper, electric start
Another Troy-Bilt machine makes it onto our list. If the predecessor is anything to go by, then this tool should as well be amazing. However, since the two are different machines, you can expect variances in features as well.
The first notable difference is in the engine. While the Horse features a 306cc engine, this one only features 250cc. This should result in a noteworthy difference in power between the two choices.
You also see that the manufacturer has cut down on wheel size for this model by about 3 inches. Nevertheless, some of the other products by different manufacturers have shown that this wheel size should be more than sufficient.
With the purchase, you get 12” bolo and forward rotating tines. These are what make it possible for you to reach a 7” tilling depth. They as well max out at a width of 16”.
You also get one forward speed option with a choice to use power reverse as well. The engine is coupled with an electric start, which should prove less strenuous than a recoil option.
Also, a protective bumper is included in the design of this small garden tiller. Users who have previously been hit by projectiles from other power devices know how painful it can be. They will thus appreciate the bumper more.
What makes it stand out?
Lifetime warranty on transmission
Protective front bumper
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
One forward and one backward speed is a little underwhelming
Other features: single-handed control through sod, air-less wheels, two speeds; cast iron, bronze gear drive transmission
If you are looking for a one-hand operation machine, this is it. Admittedly, while it does allow for one-hand operation, two-hand use should give more stability for the task at hand.
In comparison to some of the other devices, it doesn’t have the most significant tilling width. However, it does outperform all other options with regards to tilling depth. Nevertheless, this is not something you can tell by looking at the small body of the device.
Similar to the Troy-Bilt Horse, you will find that this tool also features a bronze gear drive system. However, you shouldn’t expect the same level of engine performance. This is due to the 306cc and the 196cc disparity, among other things.
The airless wheels are as well another positive. You will thus never have to worry about punctures or inflating them. One area that the tool performs dismally is in the speed. There are only two available speed options, and that will likely limit the way you can use the device.
Nevertheless, it has enough power for most small gardens. You will as well be glad to know that this is one of the less expensive models in the market. It is priced at around 660 dollars on Amazon, although you can top up that amount for some extra accessories.
Being so affordable means more people can acquire it without having to break the bank. You can also not forget the 5-year warranty for most of the device. However, the engine features a different cover that extends only up to two years.
What makes it special?
5-year warranty for most device parts
2-year engine warranty
Durable airless wheels
Allows for one-handed use
Cast iron, bronze gear
What cons did we find?
The engine is not the most powerful in the bunch
Some users have mentioned that while the engine is high quality most of the other parts are not
Things to Consider
Buying a rear tine tiller shouldn’t be a blind exercise where you randomly pick machines you think are good. It takes meticulous planning for the budget in addition to having an outline for what you want from the device.
To plan adequately, you need to go through the buying guide below. This is because it provides information on some key areas you might need to look into as you vet different options.
What is a rear tine tiller?
Garden tillers are a standard garden accessory for a lot of people. They work by digging into the soil, lifting it, and breaking it up into much smaller clumps. If the goal is to provide aeration in your soil for the seeds you plan on planting, this is the way to do it.
A rear tine tiller does the same job. However, its design is where the differentiation from other tillers comes in. It includes an engine on the front, wheels somewhere in the middle, and the tines at the back; hence the term rear tine.
Where you find a backward rotating motion to the tines in contrast to the forward movement of the wheels that is called a counter-rotating motion. The Champion 100380 is an example of a device that incorporates that in its design.There are also forward rotating and dual rotating tine options as well.
Features to consider when purchasing a rear tine tiller
Most smart people consider features whenever they want to buy any new tool. This is because it is an almost sure way of determining if the device will work for you without having used it. As a part of our buying guide, we have given a breakdown of features to expect in most devices. Your role is only to read and take notes.
You will likely find a difference in soil hardness in various areas. If the soil is soft, most engines should get through it quite easily. However, if it is hard, some options might struggle a bit. This is where engine power comes in.
If you want a device that makes slight work of soil, whether soft or hard, you will invest the extra money in something more powerful. Also, the engine is quite capable of influencing the spinning speed for the tine. This as well, has the effect of determining how much time you spend tilling your garden.
This is yet another area that will likely be influenced by the engine and gear. Quite simply put, the more powerful the engine, the better. Displacement or cc ratings are one of those ways that you can determine whether the tool has enough torque for the job at hand or not.
Nevertheless, most devices will eventually get the job done. However, the time it takes to complete the job will vary based on power and torque.
Everyone wants to make their work easier. That is one of the reasons why you are purchasing a rear tine tiller instead of a hoe. As such, you should pay attention to the tilling width as it is quite telling on the amount of work you have to do.
Larger tilling widths cover more ground in a single run. This means that the number of runs you have to make to cover your whole garden is less as compared to devices with smaller tilling widths. As such, if your financial capacity allows it, always go for the larger option.
The depth is another area that potential users might want to look into. As such, how deep the tines can dig is quite essential.
What is even more important is the variety it has with regard to depth. This allows you to toggle depth to cater to the different seeds you may want to plant. After all, some of them will do better at a 3-inch depth than they will at 6 inches.
Tine rotation style
As we have already mentioned, the Champion 100380 uses a counter-rotation style. This means that when the device is moving forward, the tines are rotating in the opposite direction.
A few options as well have the option to switch between counter-rotation and forward rotation. These are the dual-rotation devices.
You as well need to choose which of the above three suits your needs.
You cannot forget the tiller wheels as well. The Troy-Bilt Horse offers one of the more impressive wheel options since they are large and provide more traction.
Also, the Earthquake Victory 29702 impresses with airless wheels as well. With some of the above options, you may have to replace the wheels for better performance.
While it is operated by most people using two hands, the Earthquake Victory 29702 allows for one-handed use as well. This makes it quite versatile. Other options can only be used with a firm two-handed grip.
However, other factors also come into play. An example is comfort. If you find options with ergonomic grips, you should consider taking them on. After all, you might end up using the tool for long periods at a time.
Dimensions and weight
These devices tend to be moved from storage to the garden and then back to storage. As such, it might not matter much for the device to be lightweight.
On the other hand, the dimensions do affect the tilling width. Rarely do we recommend that you go for the bigger option, but in this case, we do. This will likely affect the number of runs you have to make to complete the tilling job.
Nevertheless, this can be a double-edged sword since it will mean that you need to set aside more storage space as well.
You want a tool that stays balanced as you are using it, and a counterweight is a perfect feature to help you with that. As a result, you will likely not get any jerking or involuntary movements from the machine while using it.
Most of these tools will come with manufacturer-specific warranties. The YARDMAX YT4565, for instance, comes with a 2-year warranty for residential users. Commercial users are not so lucky with only about 90-day coverage.
Other options offer different terms, and it is essential to read through the conditions. This way, you will know what coverage is available for each of the components of the machine.
Extra features are also standard in a lot of these devices. Things like safety shield protect the user and thus add value to the device.Other additional features may include easy start mechanisms, self-sharpening tines, and many more. Admittedly these extra features might increase the cost of your machine.
The only things you need to be concerned about regarding the engines are whether they can produce enough power. This is regardless of the type. Also, most options use the same kind of fuel, so there shouldn’t be much difference in emissions.
A few of the options above either use bronze or cast iron gearboxes. This would imply that durability is quite essential. As such, it is a crucial feature to look into as you check on device transmission.
Picking out at least three devices is a great idea since availability varies for most of them. This way you are assured that at least one of them will be available for sale.
The Earthquake 37037 creates a deep tilling path, but it is easy to control even with one hand. It feels well balanced for excellent stability on any terrain.
The Troy Bilt Mustang is an ideal rear tine tiller for rugged soils and lighter projects. It is powerful to clear most soils with one pass that makes it easy to till in straight lines. However, some users have had difficulty using it one handed.
The last option in our favorites list is the Champion 100380. If you are looking for EPA or CARB compliance, this is the product to buy. It also has quite a few functional elements. Examples include an eight-inch tilling depth in addition to self-propelling wheels.
However, with only five options in the shortlist picking out which device to buy is seemingly a lot easier. As such, you should come to a conclusion soon. In that case, log in to amazon and ordering your device should be the next and final step in the process.